Influencing factors and analyses in the context of personnel planning

// Business Intelligence, HR-Analytics

HR analytics systems are the basis for anticipatory control systems in HR controlling

The provision of personnel - in the required quantity and quality as well as at the right time and in the right place - is a central task of HR management and personnel planning. In times of labor shortages, this task takes on special significance. The optimal use of existing human resources becomes increasingly important when external recruitment reaches its limits. For these reasons, personnel development and personnel retention are becoming increasingly important. As a result, personnel requirements and personnel structure planning are becoming more and more important as a central task of HR departments.

The recognition of correlations in HR data plays an even greater role in developing targeted and thus effective measures. Key performance indicator systems and their presentation in HR analytics systems are the central key to success.

Facets of personnel structure planning

While strategic HR controlling, according to the definition, deals with long-term developments, trends and measures in the course of change processes, operational HR planning is aimed at short-term measures that support the achievement of strategic goals.

According to this definition, both strategic planning and operational HR planning are aligned with HR objectives and, accordingly, with corporate goals. Good HR planning is characterized by regular status determinations and plan/actual analyses in order to be able to identify potential quantitative or qualitative personnel bottlenecks or surpluses in good time. Only in this way can controlling measures be initiated to correct unwanted developments and align them with the set goals (see figure Facets of personnel controlling).

In the strategic and operational context, both personnel requirements and headcount planning are carried out. In order to be able to derive qualification-specific statements on the coverage of future personnel requirements in this context, a functional and structural grouping of the requirements and the stock (e.g., according to function group, job families or similar structural characteristics) must be carried out.

The following questions are central to personnel requirements planning and workforce scheduling:

  • How many personnel are needed?
  • What qualifications (know-how) must this personnel have?
  • Where is this personnel needed?
  • When is this personnel needed?

Operational personnel requirements planning can be carried out using various methods. The key figure method is used when the required personnel capacities can be derived from quantity-based process planning. This method is mostly used in companies with standardized production processes. In environments with a high degree of individuality, the estimation method is more commonly used, in which bottom-up personnel requirements are planned by the manager on the basis of experience.

In personnel requirements planning, a fundamental distinction is made between deployment, reserve, new or replacement requirements. The decisive question here is how the identified requirements are to be covered. Since the current labor market situation often makes it difficult to recruit personnel and expand the workforce, increasing efforts are being made to identify and utilize unused potential for meeting demand - especially in the context of qualitative workforce planning and deployment and reserve requirements.

By contrast, workforce planning - also known as workforce management - is carried out on the basis of the current workforce, supplemented by already known developments (e.g., retirements, expiration of fixed-term contracts, transfer of trainees) and assumptions made (e.g., promotions). This personnel planning step can also take place by the manager.  Since this planning is based on existing facts and data, the use of software-based workforce planning can significantly reduce the effort involved.

Already known developments can be automatically extrapolated and intuitively supplemented by assumptions made. Furthermore, this type of planning offers the possibility to develop and subsequently compare different scenarios. For example, the effects of opening an additional location can be made transparent. In such a software-based solution, personnel planning as well as personnel cost planning will usually take place.

Support through People Analytics / HR Analytics

The personnel coverage or coverage requirements are derived from the forecast personnel requirements in comparison with the forecast headcount (gap analysis). The know-how of the person responsible for planning is of particular importance in this gap analysis. HR analytics systems support this task by visualizing the multitude of influencing factors and their interrelationships in a structured manner. The basis for this should be a cross-thematic single point of truth for HR data in order to increase data quality and centrally automate preparation processes. The context-specific (targeted) design of HR analytics evaluations (HR dashboards) and the corresponding selection of key figures enable those responsible in HR planning to answer the specific questions that arise from the context of workforce planning.

Influencing factors and their significance for personnel planning

Knowledge of causal relationships and factors influencing certain developments is elementary for personnel planning. If, for example, a quantitative personnel shortage is identified in the GAP analysis, this merely means that current requirements are not being met and not necessarily that new personnel must be recruited to solve this shortage. Appropriate measures can be taken to recover existing potential and thus provide targeted support for covering personnel requirements, e.g., through internal recruitment or personnel development.

It is crucial that effective measures can only be designed if interrelationships, impact chains and thus company-specific influencing factors are made transparent. For example, personnel development measures can compensate for skill deficits in the medium term, or training programs and the hiring of trainees can counteract demographic change. An example of a targeted measure would be, for example, to plan qualification campaigns and to focus recruitment measures on junior staff rather than on highly specialized experts.

Only if the causes of personnel shortages or surpluses are known can targeted and thus effective measures be derived. The identification and subsequent analysis of precisely these relevant influencing factors are thus crucial to the success of HR work.

In the context of employee availability for workforce planning, the following questions therefore arise, for example:

  • Are there waves of illness that accumulate at certain times during the year, creating a need for short-term replacements?
  • Are there employees who are on maternity or parental leave and are therefore not available?
  • Are there employees who are currently undergoing training and are therefore available on a reduced basis?
  • Are there indications that absences due to illness can be attributed to occupational safety, ergonomics at the workplace or the quality of leadership?
  • Are there indications that processes can be made more efficient (set-up times, meetings, project management, personal distribution time)?

Identifying the influencing factors relevant to a specific planning case is the task of HR controlling and only succeeds if transparency is created in the data pools so that correlations can be identified.

Dashboards for interactive analysis of HR data

Dashboards in HR Analytics systems are more than just the visualization of statistical key figures. They allow the recipient to interactively analyze HR data. The focus is usually on a specific technical question (see above). Starting from a superordinate perspective (Fig. 1), they allow the user to delve deeper into the details of the specialist subject areas in order to recognize correlations and thus identify the causes of developments. HR analytics dashboards must therefore be set up in a context-specific manner - but they must remain generic in their application. Due to the resulting complexity, they are of particular importance.

Figure 1: Starting point for personnel analyses in noventum HR Analytics 

Figure 1: Starting point for personnel analyses in noventum HR Analytics

The noventum process model for information design guides HR controllers in setting up dashboards in self-service so that clear, meaningful and flexible reports are created to support HR controlling. The most important prerequisite is a structured, central repository of HR data - the HR SPOT (Single Point of Truth) - in which the data from the various operational systems flow together and are consistently prepared for People Analytics.

noventum HR Analytics has a modular structure and addresses various topics of HR work. The focus of the tools is on analysis to support HR planning. Solutions are offered for both data management including processing (noventum HR SPOT) and visualization and analysis (noventum HR Dashboards). As an integrated module of this system, noventum HR Planning supports the operative processes of workforce planning as well as personnel cost planning. Thus, the central data room in HR SPOT serves on the one hand as a supplier of basic data for planning and on the other hand as a recipient of planning results, which are used for plan-actual comparisons in the HR dashboards.

Figure 2+3: The detection of trends, early warning indicators or the measurement of the effectiveness of measures are ideally carried out in interactive dashboards (here using noventum HR Analytics as an example). As an example, building on a personnel structure analysis (FTE distribution across various characteristics), the analysis of shortfalls or working time distributions across various personnel structure characteristics can take place. The insights gained can be used to identify or verify adjustment needs in health management or work organization and thus derive targeted optimization measures.

Influencing factors can be divided into general and company-specific influencing factors. Furthermore, it is advisable to make both direct and indirect influences on planning transparent.

As described above, the availability of employees has a direct influence on a quantitative personnel bottleneck. The actual employee time available for productive work results from the difference between the contractually agreed working time and the deduction due to personal distribution time, vacation, illness and other absences (e.g., parental leave, further training).

The design of the workplace (e.g. with regard to ergonomics or occupational safety) or the quality of the manager then in turn have an indirect influence on the limited availability, e.g. due to illness.

The analysis of influencing factors can be supported by comprehensive HR reporting. By identifying direct and indirect influencing factors, it also becomes clear whether an expansion of the workforce is actually necessary or whether other targeted measures can increase the availability of employees. With the help of regular plan-actual (staff expansion) or target-actual (increase in workplace ergonomics) analyses in HR reporting, the effect of the selected measures (e.g., staff expansion or increase in workplace ergonomics) can be analyzed and, if necessary, readjusted.


Taking the relevant influencing factors into account in HR planning supports the development of an anticipatory control system in HR controlling.

This can only be achieved if context-specific dashboards are available for analysis, bringing transparency to HR key figures.

The use of software-based HR planning makes a significant contribution on the way to transparent, robust HR planning that is aligned with corporate goals and fits into the control circle that has been created.

The basis for the effectiveness of such modern HR controlling is, in addition to functioning operative HR management systems, above all valid and flexibly available HR key figures.

Interactive HR dashboards make interdependencies visible. The transparency gained through continuous monitoring contributes to the control of measures and forms an important pillar of successful HR work.

noventum consulting

Kay Kamphans


noventum consulting

Arlett-Sophie Magdanz


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